Pitfire

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There is scientific evidence that human experimentation with clay dates back as early as 30,000 years ago and that pottery has been “baked” in open fires or pit fires as early as 25,000 years ago.

Kilns or “ovens” have since replaced open fires for manufacturing purposes but a lot of people still practice this ancient type of ceramic firing. This low temperature atmospheric firing is influenced by what is added to the fire and results in incredible and unpredictable colors making each piece unique.

We, at the Terra Linda Ceramics, do our pit fires at the beach. A pit is dug out in the sand and its center is lined with wood shavings. Pottery is nestled carefully in the wood shavings. Seaweed and many other organic as well as mineral and oxide materials are placed around the pieces. Dry cow dung is placed atop of the pottery and finally wood is added at the very end. The entire mound is set afire and burns for several hours.

As the ashes settle and cool the magic of the firing is revealed as the transformed pieces emerge. Once these have cooled they are safely pulled, cleaned and buffed one last time.